The nature of fire

Among the natural elements, fire represents that which is most scarce. Humankind rose to evolutionary prominence on the shoulders of fire and then declared itself master of the element. Fire has been made invisible. It has been made available. It has been made convenient. Yet there exists a great divide between that which is harnessed and that which is controlled. In life and in art, fire represents a force of creation as well as destruction.

Across Christian lines

With one year and four publications under their belts, members of the Dwelling Together production team are determined to continue to encourage, inspire and build community among Christians in Columbia.

The publication is distributed to 120 pastors and 550 priests, elders, ministers, deacons and other spiritual leaders from Columbia’s Christian churches.

Study: Tobacco donations can affect voting

Where there’s smoke, there’s money.

For each day Congress is in session, the tobacco industry spends an estimated $138,774 on lobbying. That’s not including the $24.8 million tobacco companies spent on political campaigns for federal candidates in the past six years.

Smoking out tobacco

The thought of a man with no jaw leaves fifth-graders at Russell Boulevard Elementary School gasping and shuddering.

The conversation in Columbia police officer John Warner’s weekly Drug Abuse Resistance Education class is energized and frank. Before math class on this Tuesday, it has led a curious 10-year-old to ponder the effects of mouth cancer from tobacco.

Winding Muddy wheels

Tiffany Voorheis, 15, pulls her shoulder-length brown hair into a ponytail while her friends, Robin Hargis, 15, and Megan Beckley, 16, squeeze riding helmets over their heads.

“Ah, you’re gonna put your hair up high like that?” Robin asks. “You’re supposed to put it down low, so it hangs outside the helmet.”

Community Sketchbook

Chores take the merry out of Christmas

I’m in the frantic mode of Christmas preparations, so I’m a little cranky these days. I can’t figure out why decorating and wrapping presents is such an ordeal.

Whoever invented the ornament hook has made millions, but if someone could come up with a better way to package these thin metal gadgets, I, and about a billion others, would really be appreciative. I’d even pay double for hooks that come out of the package one at a time. Sure, they look as if they have been placed in a single line, but try taking one out and you get 150. I spend what seems like hours untangling the darn things.

A greater understanding

In Mark Mueller’s chilly but spacious sculpture studio in MU’s Marx Building, one can’t help but notice the life-size molds of human heads that sit on a nearby utility shelf — molds that bear a striking resemblance to Mueller.

Montessori school renovations complete

Bundled under umbrellas or soaking in the rain, nearly 30 parents and Columbia Chamber of Commerce members focused their eyes on a yellow ribbon and a giant pair of scissors.

Clad in gold blazers, Chamber of Commerce goodwill ambassadors officially reopened Columbia Montessori School’s renovated parking lot and playground Friday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Restless Sundays

If you’re not too busy and you visit Cosmo Park on any given Sunday, there’s a good chance you’ll run into the Garners, who go there each week for family fun after Sunday services at the Unity Center and lunch at McDonald’s.

On a chilly November afternoon, 3-year-old Logan Garner used the free time to practice the “Tootie-Tot” song. With a wide smile, he followed the example of his mother, Carolyn, 41, and his big brother, Alex, 7, through the last verse. He stuck out his tongue, touched his knees together, turned his toes inward and kept his neck up, thumbs out, elbows in and rump out while singing the active melody.

Crayton runs for 3rd term in 1st Ward

The biggest reason behind First Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton’s decision to seek a third term is the desire to represent those whose concerns generally go unnoticed.

“People who don’t have a voice should have a voice downtown,” said Crayton, who has represented the central-city ward

Pedestrian project puts parents’ and children’s feet to the streets

The PedNet Coalition sponsored a “walking school bus” Friday morning for students of West Boulevard Elementary School. The event was sponsored to encourage kids to walk to school.

Ian Thomas, project director for the PedNet Coalition, said that because of societal changes, only a small proportion of children walk to school.

MU and Northwest Missouri scrap ambitious merger plan

Bittersweet reality set in Friday for Northwest Missouri State University when the proposed merger of the school into the University of Missouri system was officially terminated.

President Dean Hubbard of Northwest Missouri and President Elson Floyd of the UM system met in Kansas City on Thursday and decided to focus their attention on the financial aspect of their institutions, the Associated Press said Friday.

Teens battle it out for rapper clout

To the high beat of drums, fly peeps had fun getting crunked up and getting it done, finding the words to win under the disco lights Friday night in the third annual Rock the Mike Competition.

Competition is hype and with $30 up in the air for the first prize winner, the rap battles were fast and furious and not a place for the weak of heart or rhyme.

Toys for Tots program boosted by parade

An eclectic parade honoring Hickman High School’s state champion football team and raising awareness of the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys For Tots program rolled through downtown Columbia on Eighth and Walnut streets Saturday afternoon.

The parade was promoted by Y107 radio personalities Cosmo and JC, whose show airs from 5:30 to 10 on weekday mornings.

Tigers on inside track

It’s an axiom as old as sport. If finesse fails, use force.

Not that the Missouri men’s basketball team hadn’t been forcing its shots, but on Saturday at Mizzou Arena the Tigers finally began forcing the right ones.

Bruins bounce back after loss

The Rock Bridge boys’ basketball team played with an elastic quality.

The Bruins won 51-31 against Warrensburg, bouncing back after trailing 12-5 midway through the first quarter.

Ridley’s free throws save game

Free throws almost cost the Columbia College women’s basketball team a victory Saturday, but Charliss Ridley hit the two that mattered most.

In their 62-60 win against John Brown at the Arena at Southwell Complex, the Cougars shot only 52 percent from the line.

Cougars snap skid in dominating fashion

The possibility of a season-worst four-game losing streak was never more than an afterthought Saturday for the Columbia College men’s basketball team.

The Cougars dominated from the start, defeating Concordia Seminary 111-54 at the Arena of Southwell Complex, snapping a three-game losing streak. The win provided a much-needed confidence boost to a team that has found wins increasingly hard to come by this season.

Rolling onto the court

With their chairs on the line, Garrett French and Steve Hathaway await the sound of the whistle. “Let’s go, let’s go!” coach Steve Paxton says as the MU wheelchair basketball players propel their chairs through routines on the Student Recreation Center court.

As they approach the last turn, determination to beat their best times is etched on their faces. French is “in the zone” and before he can stop, he slams into a wooden wall, moving the partition several inches.